Impact of Covid-19 on services provided for persons with disability in Malta
Aġenzija Sapport is following clear directions given by the authorities to help in preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Malta amongst its service users and its employees. The first stage was to prevent through guidance about sanitising practices, provision of necessary products and protective gear, and prevention processes. By time, the Agency has also developed support measures to assist persons with disability and their family members throughout this extraordinary period. Various measures have thus been adopted considering the needs of the Agency’s client group and also to be in line with the directives given by the authorities.
Closure of day services
Social work interventions limited to online support and interventions only in cases of emergency.
- Community services given only in cases of emergency.
- All respite services for persons with disability stopped.
- Group outings and all events cancelled.
- Visits by family members stopped.
- All Boards and face-to-face meetings (including interviews, case reviews and supervision) stopped.
- All home visits done only in cases of emergency.
- Face-to-face sign language interpretation appointments have been stopped.
- Support is given to persons with disability and their family regularly through various means including direct contact by phone, emails, group sms, and social media.
- Supervision sessions to staff are being through video conferencing, where possible.
- Service users within residences connect online to maintain contact with their family members.
- Office-based employees are offered telework and go into office on rotation.
- Service users and employees are monitored for temperature various times during the day.
- Sign language interpretation is done via video conferencing where possible.
- Online resources to support persons with disability and their family members including ideas for activities and easy-to-read information about Covid-19.
- Sign language interpretation of daily press conferences by the Prime Minister and by the Health authorities.
- Email address for Deaf community to seek support especially in delivery of food and medicines.
- Helpline for the elderly and vulnerable, including person with disability, to seek support especially in delivery of food and medicines.
- Applications for schemes and services are being accepted online / by email / over the phone instead of drop-ins.
- Email address and HR support to all employees where they can enquire about issues in relation to Covid-19.
- The Agency has prepared premises to be used in case of lockdown or mandatory quarantine. Extra supplies of beds and bedding has also been procured.
All measures are updated regularly according to the emerging directives and evolving situation in relation to the virus. The Agency keeps the well-being of its service users, their family members and employees as a priority and keeps constant communication with other stakeholders involved in the service provision to prevent as much as possible the spread or risks amongst its vulnerable service users while also constantly supporting them in the best way possible.